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What are the technologies that allow stores to become ‘smarter’?

Evidence would suggest that today’s consumers are time poor yet happy to spend money in a store that makes it quick and easy to shop.

I think it’s certainly the case that the most successful retailers are those with the customer experience at the heart of everything they do. But, how do these retail organizations successfully introduce the technology to facilitate the quick and easy buying experience? What are the technologies that allow stores to become ‘smarter’?

They might range from selecting items to try on with a mobile device through to using social media to share items bought with family and friends. Let’s look at eight of the biggest clever shopping options.

  1. Product Placement on TV. The range of TV content increases dramatically and this medium will offer new smart shopping capabilities due to its evolving interactive character. So the placement of specific products in a movie for a specific target group will become as normal as the following purchase of such products via the integrated TV checkout.
  2. QR codes. These still have a place in modern marketing. For example, using a QR code to link recipes on cooking shows with an instructional video on how to cook that dish for yourself.
  3. Push messaging. A huge area of growth is technology that utilizes customers’ mobile phones in-store. iBeacons for example can push messages to handsets featuring product information, offers, promotions and more.
  4. Images. One of the technologies I’m most excited about – and we have a partner already doing it. This is the facility for people to use their smartphones to take pictures of products they like – such as a dress displayed in a shop window for example – then go to the website of their favorite brand and be shown a dress that looks the same or very similar to the one in the picture and add it to their ‘wish list’, reserve one in the nearest store or buy it immediately.
  5. GPS. Simple but effective. Use GPS technology to identify local, recommended shopping locations and special promotions based on a customer’s geographical location.
  6. One-click shopping. Or, fastest checkout as it’s sometimes referred to. One-click shopping is a simple but highly effective tool in the retailer’s technology arsenal because it makes the customer’s experience so easy and efficient.
  7. Internet of Things. This scenario is where objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. In other words, this technology will enable your ‘intelligent refrigerator’ to manage what groceries you have in stock and order them from the supermarket for example. Perhaps your bathroom mirror will have an ‘intelligent touch screen’ for managing your toiletries and so on.
  8. Smart RFID displays and digital fitting rooms. These digital mirrors help customers virtually try on fashion, shoes, or glasses, with the added benefit of displaying detailed product information, and perhaps suggesting other items that might go with the chosen outfit.